After receiving a test package from Brown Lures last week, Saturday seemed like a good day to go fishing and test these fine soft plastic lures. The weather and the tides agreed.
With an all day incoming tide and warm, sunny conditions, my brother, Steve came along. Now, you have to understand that Steve doesn't like to leave his comfort zone very much. If it's too hot, too cold, biting insects, or dirt involved, he's not interested. I can remember on one camping trip, the temps dropped a few degrees under what our sleeping bags were rated. After surviving the cold night, he was ready to either leave, or go to WalMart for extra blankets. After buying an electric blanket, it turned out to be one of the best camping trips he'd been on. Even though he's my brother, he somehow missed out on the outdoor bug. Our styles differ greatly too. He looks like a poster boy for Old Navy while, oftentimes, I look like I just pulled up on a Harley. So I figured if he was coming along, I'd make it as easy as possible on him. I set him up with the big "meat stik rig" Which is a super heavy Ugly Stik with a large Penn spinning reel loaded with 65 lb test braided super line and a 50 lb test mono leader. As not to confuse the boy, I played it safe by attaching a cork with a 2/0 Mustad hook complete with a shrimp. All he'd have to do is cast the thing and watch the cork. I've used that rig to haul up 50lb amberjack out of 200 ft of water, so I knew he'd be able to horse a fish in if need be.
We were fishing a small channel with sandbars on both sides. The channel empties out on a nice grass flat. The strategy being to cast and let the current take the bait to the fish on the grass flat. I would be casting directly to the grass. My rig consisted of a 7 ft medium power Ugly Stik, Penn Silverado spinning reel loaded with 20 lb Power Pro braided line and 30 lb Mono leader.
Jason from Brown Lures sent me 4 packs of lures and a pack of 1/4 oz Tru/Loc jig heads. The first thing you'll notice about all of these soft plastics is the very large, prominent eye. The 2 models he sent were the Devil Eye in Gold Rush and Black Cat/Chartreuse as well as Flappin' Devil in Glow and Pink color schemes. The jig heads are very nice, complete with spiral bait holder and bullet like shaped heads. The hooks are very sharp and strong. I started with a Devil Eye in Gold Rush, rigged standard to get an idea of what these lures are about. They're a bit fatter than your average jig/jerkbait, but with the bullet jig head, it cuts through the air effortlessly, adding distance to your cast. Another pleasant surprise was the landing. The jig head helps it slice through the water without making a huge splash. I hopped it off the bottom, bouncing it off of small rocks and other debris. I only got hung up once in about 2 dozen casts. A jigging retrieve causes an erratic, baitfish trying to escape action that's sure to get the attention of a feeding redfish or trout. I swam it, jigged it, yanked it, and hopped it through weeds and other small structures. The only thing that I might suggest is maybe improving this by adding a mono weedguard.
Next up was the Flappin' Devil in pink, which is a Devil Eye with a shad tail. This time, I used a bit of Florida ingenuity by using a cup faced cork head with an offset 2/0 worm hook. This rig gives the lure the ability to hover just under the surface and subsequent jerks and twitches make it gurgle and flap it's tail, making subtle disturbances that you might want when fishing a top water presentation in calm conditions. This is also a nice soft plastic that performs well and looks great in the water.
I went back to the Devil Eye, using the worm hook and a 1/4 oz split shot about 18 inches above the hook. This made the lure dart to and fro while staying just above the bottom in a walk the dog type of retrieve.
Bottom Line is this - If you can get on fish, I'm sure these baits can catch them. But after a few hours, brother Steve didn't even get 1 hit on the shrimp he was using. Not even a bait robbing pinfish, sail cat or sting ray.
On this day, the fish were nowhere to be found. At least they weren't washing up dead on the sand.